After decades of Here And Now shows and other depressing exercises in nostalgia, the Midge Ure-led line-up of Ultravox has reformed and recorded a new album. There’s no messing about with any idea of musical progression, mind: Brilliant sounds as if they’ve dug out the same old synths and guitar processors they were using in 1983 and plugged them straight in again. This album is aimed squarely at a certain demographic, aged between 40 and 50, who liked the Ure incarnation’s big hits (One Small Day, The Voice, Hymn, Dancing With Tears In My Eyes… basically anything on that pale blue greatest hits comp that every household possessed).
These consumers may or may not be aware of the more critically-lauded version of the band helmed by John Foxx until 1979, but they’re unlikely to give a hoot given that Brilliant sounds as glittery and digestible as this. With the right drugs – or, more likely, a few glasses of Merlot, given how old we all are now – songs such as Live Again, Flow, Let It Lie and Satellite will transport you directly back to 1988 and a terrible nightclub in Romford/ Basingstoke/Dundee/Salford/ [insert grim provincial town of choice]. Brilliant sounds rather good in parts, as it happens – but let’s be clear: there’s no way to look at it other than as a commercially-astute attempt at nostalgic nest-feathering.